Jeff Guenther on Sep 02, 2020
These are the two questions I’m most frequently asked these days. Oh! And also, why are you so handsome? I just am! Nothing I can do about that ;)
But in all seriousness, “Why are you alienating 50% of your customers?” and “Why is TherapyDen free?” are common questions that I want to address. So here goes.
Well, first I’m asked, is TherapyDen really free? Yes, it’s free. We don’t collect your credit card and you can activate your profile with a simple click of a button. It’s free. If we ever decided to change that, we’d have to ask you to enter your billing info, so no surprises here.
We do, however, bring in a tiny bit of revenue by asking therapists who sign up, or who receive a new client referral, to make a small donation, so we can keep the lights on around here. (Side note: We don’t have any actual lights that need to be kept on. We enjoy working in the dark. These donations allow us to make sure this website is kept up and running. It’s not free to host a large website on the Internet! I wish it was.)
The 3 people who run TherapyDen all have day jobs, so we don’t rely on this income. Maybe keep that in mind the next time you have an urgent request about your photo not uploading correctly. I might be with a client. ;) I have to keep the actual lights on somehow...
But despite the lack of income, our tiny team has put thousands and thousands of hours of work into TherapyDen. Why? Because we believe in the mission of creating a progressive and all-inclusive therapist directory. Of course, one day we hope to get paid. I think we’ll get paid. I’m putting positive vibes out into the Universe that we’ll get paid, so I feel pretty good about it. My two partners don’t quite believe in, or know how strong, my positive vibes can be, but they’ll see. Yep, they’ll see…
We’re treating TherapyDen like a startup. We’re focused on building our therapist user base and moving up the Google ranks to compete with Psychology Today. And we are doing it! TherapyDen is working and I guarantee Psychology Today is shaking in their boots! Actually, I have it on good authority that Psychology Today is in fact not sending positive vibes into the universe, but they’re actually sending very negative vibes out. So think about that if you decide to create a profile with Psych Today. Do you really want their negative energy mixed up in your practice? I think the answer is obvious.
We figure that with enough therapist sign ups and client referrals that get doled out to therapists, we’ll soon be a tour de force to be reckoned with. Actually, with the trajectory we’re on recently, that may happen even sooner than we predicted. Once that happens, we’ll figure out how to make money from this project while continuing to make it easy for therapists to sign up and get a ton of value from our platform.
Okay, so to understand what this question actually means, you need a bit of context. TherapyDen is clear about our mission to fight racism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of discrimination. For example, on our homepage you can see clearly that we stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. When a therapist creates a profile they are asked questions like, do you promise to have an all-inclusive practice, do you have gender neutral bathrooms, do you practice from a racial justice framework, can you competently treat transgender clients, and so on. This helps clients filter for therapists that meet their needs. This blatant support for social justice doesn’t resonate with all therapists across the country.
I get angry and upset emails all the time from therapists who don’t agree with our mission and wish that we were more neutral or just totally silent about it like Psychology Today has chosen to be. Just last week I sent an email to the 15,000 therapists who are subscribed to our newsletter about the brave and inspiring stance that athletes have recently taken against police violence in America. That didn’t sit well with some therapists on my list. And one of them, like many of them before, asked me why TherapyDen would take a stance like this when we know that therapists like her, who don’t agree with what the athletes are doing, will likely deactivate their TherapyDen profile or not sign up at all. She wants to know why we would alienate 50% of therapists who have views like hers.
I’ll tell you. But first, if you catch me in the right mood when you ask me this question, which she did, I’ll go back and forth with you all damn day. Is that a good idea? No. Should I probably just ignore these emails? Absolutely. Am I easy to bait? 100% yes, I will forever be. So if you wanna get into an email fight about why I support racial justice, great! But be prepared to majorly engage with me about it for waaaay too long.
So yeah, if you don’t support the revolution that’s taking place in the United States right now, we’re fine if you don’t want to sign up with TherapyDen. If that’s your opinion, it’s perfectly okay if you don’t create a profile. That can be surprising to hear, I know. But it makes me feel better knowing that a person of color who’s looking for a therapist won’t run into a therapist like you on TherapyDen. Sorry. That’s just how I feel.
And while I don’t have any data to back this up, I honestly believe there’s no way in hell that 50% of therapists don’t support racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. No way! Therapists are some of the most caring, compassionate and empathetic people on this planet. I know I live in the liberal bubble of Portland, Oregon, but I’d wager that at least 85% of therapists across the country are on board with TherapyDen’s mission and values. Yes, this is partly based on what my heart feels but it’s also based on talking to thousands of therapists across the country who have poured their heart out to me about how much they love TherapyDen. So there’s that. Only positive vibes here.
So, if you want to help move the mental health industry forward, support us by creating a free profile with TherapyDen. You’ll get clients that are better matches and a ton of karma points. I promise. :)
Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005. Jeff is the creator and owner of Portland Therapy Center, a highly ranked therapist directory. Jeff, and his team, have launched a new progressive therapist directory, TherapyDen.